A 10-year-old boy who was the youngest victim in a gruesome 2015 quadruple murder in Washington, D.C., may have been burned alive, a medical examiner testified Wednesday as the prosecution rested its case.
A 20-count federal indictment accuses Daron Wint of taking a wealthy family of three and their housekeeper hostage on May 13, 2015, then killing them the next day, even though a $40,000 ransom had been paid for their release, as previously reported by Oxygen.com.
The prosecution concluded its case with testimony from a medical examiner and graphic autopsy images detailing how the victims died. The expert testified the family’s son, Phillip, was stabbed and set on fire, possibly while still alive, according to WJLA 24/7 News, the local ABC affiliate in Washington.
Firefighters responding on May 14 to a fire at the multi-million dollar home of Savvas Savopoulos, 46, found his body, as well as the bodies of his wife, Amy Savopoulos, 47, son Philip, and Veralicia Figueroa, 57, the family’s housekeeper. They had been beaten, stabbed and burned.
Police were led to Wint by DNA, recovered from a partially-eaten Domino's pizza found in the Savopoulos home that Amy Savopoulos ordered the night of the 13th, as well as from a construction vest, a hard hat and a knife used to prop open a basement window.
One of Wint’s brothers, Darrell, asked a cousin to help him turn Daron into police, according to trial testimony reported by 4 Washington, the local NBC affiliate. The two were in a truck traveling in tandem with a car carrying Daron Wint when U.S. Marshals swooped in and arrested him.
Wint has been held without bail since; he faces a potential sentence of life without parole.
Wint’s trial started Sept. 9 with a shocking twist: in his opening statement to the jury his lawyer said Daron’s brothers, Darrell and Steffon, committed the murders, and set Daron up to look guilty.
They “deceived him, abandoned him and left him to take the fall,” Daron Wint’s lawyer, Jeffrey Stein, said, according to the Washington Post.
However, in addition to the DNA evidence linking Wint to the crime, the prosecution presented proof that Wint flashed wads of $100 bills around hours after the Savopoulos’ bodies were discovered, and asked a brother-in-law, Derrick Ayling, to help him burn his minivan, according to 4 Washington.
Vanessa Hayles, Wint’s former fiance, also testified, albeit pursuant to a grant of immunity. Hayles said that Wint stayed with her in New York a day after the murders. Telling her he’d won the lottery, Wint took out for dinner and a shopping spree.
But, then, the two saw Wint’s mugshot on TV and fled to a hotel. Wint took a cab ride back to Washington the next day, when he was arrested.
There was also expert technological testimony that a smartphone police say belonged to Wint was used in the days after the murders to search for “10 hideout cities for fugitives,” "How to beat a lie detector test" and five countries with no extradition treaty with the United States, according to the Washington Post.
After the prosecution rested its case, the defense called Daron Wint to the stand. Wint testified that his brothers Darrell and Steffon asked him for help with a painting job, but that when he met Darrell, he said the job was off and asked instead to borrow his minivan, offering $300 for its use, according to 4 Washington.
Daron Wint said he took the money and had Darrell drop him off at a friend’s house, but that he left his smartphone in the minivan by mistake. At his friend’s house, he said he drank until he passed out.
When he woke the next day, Darrell was there to pick him up -- not in the minivan but in the Savopoulos family’s blue Porsche, he said. Darrell took Daron to the Savopoulos’s house, Damon said, and since he was hungry offered him pizza.
Daron Wint also testified that Darrell told him to put on a construction vest and hardhat because he was about to rob the Savopoulos’s house and the outfit would make him less suspicious. But he declined to participate in the crime, and took the items off, he said.
When it came to the knife holding open the basement window, however, he could ot explain how his DNA ended up on it, according to 4 Washington.
Daron Wint also said he told Darrell to keep his minivan, and Darrell paid him $6,000 and two iPhones. But since he thought the iPhones were stolen, he discarded them, he said.
The iPhones, prosecutors say, belong to the Savopouloses.
The trial continues Thursday, with the prosecution’s cross-examination of Daron Wint.
[Photo: Oswego County Sheriff]